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Grayscale tells SEC that turning greatest bitcoin fund into ETF will unlock $eight billion for traders

Michael Sonnenshein, CEO, Grayscale Investments on the NYSE, April 18, 2022.

Supply: NYSE

Grayscale, the asset supervisor operating the world’s largest bitcoin fund, met privately with the Securities and Alternate Fee final week in an effort to influence the regulator to approve the conversion of its flagship fund into an ETF, CNBC has discovered.

Turning the Grayscale Bitcoin Belief right into a NYSE-traded ETF would broaden entry to bitcoin and improve protections whereas unlocking as much as $eight billion in worth for traders, in accordance with a 24-page presentation obtained by CNBC.

That is as a result of the belief, recognized by its GBTC ticker, has traded at a mean 25% low cost to the worth of its underlying asset since early 2021, a reduction that ought to disappear upon conversion, the corporate mentioned.

Led by CEO Michael Sonnenshein, Grayscale has engaged in a high-stakes marketing campaign to strain the U.S. regulator to approve the primary spot-based bitcoin ETF. The asset supervisor has watched as opponents together with ProShares win approval for futures-based bitcoin exchange-traded funds, displaying that the SEC is extra snug with merchandise primarily based on futures over these primarily based on bitcoin.

A spot-based bitcoin ETF could be a major milestone within the adoption of digital belongings as a result of it might open them as much as bizarre traders in a well-known wrapper that trades like a inventory. The purpose has eluded the trade for greater than 5 years. Grayscale’s first utility for a spot bitcoin ETF was in early 2017.

GBTC holds roughly 3.4% of the world’s bitcoin and is owned by greater than 850,000 U.S. accounts, in accordance with Grayscale. The fund, which enabled institutional traders like Ark Make investments’s Cathie Wooden to guess on bitcoin, ballooned to greater than $30 billion in measurement earlier than the current crypto retrenchment introduced its belongings to $20.1 billion.

The funding agency has helped coordinate a public letter-writing push, flooding the SEC with greater than 3,000 letters in assist of its utility. The agency even hinted that it might sue the company if its utility was denied.

The deadline for the SEC to approve or reject Grayscale’s utility is July 6.

Most analysts aren’t bullish on SEC approval after a half-dozen comparable functions from opponents have been denied since November. The SEC is worried with the potential for fraud and manipulation in bitcoin markets and has indicated it will not approve a spot-based utility till world exchanges are higher regulated.

Which will clarify Grayscale’s method, which appeared to alternate between flattering the company (“The SEC is uniquely positioned to assist the White Home Govt Order to make sure America leads in digital asset innovation,” in accordance with one slide) and criticizing it:

“The SEC is discriminating towards issuers by approving bitcoin futures ETFs and denying bitcoin spot ETFs,” in accordance with Grayscale.

Grayscale contended {that a} spot bitcoin ETF is “no riskier” than futures-based ETFs, as a result of the 2 markets are each affected by the underlying worth of bitcoin and monitor one another intently.

The agency additionally took pains to stipulate its rising disclosures tied to GBTC and its community of companions, together with BNY Mellon and Coinbase, who’re prepared to assist its conversion course of.

The SEC did not instantly return a request for remark.

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